Friday, May 27, 2011

Rough Week

Yeah, it wasn't really good for us around here the second half of this week and as a result I will be attending a wake and a funeral over the holiday weekend. (See previous post and associated comments.)
 Last night we had a CISM session. Now let me say that after all the ugly jobs I've been involved with I have learned a few things about stress, grief, emotions, and all the stuff that comes along with the heart wrenching jobs. I am certainly no expert, and you should absolutely not take what I say as a guide. However I have learned that we each have our own best coping mechanisms. My suggestion is that you find what works for you and use that whenever you feel the need. My personal experience supports most of the psychologists research, to whit: Drinking alcohol to excess doesn't help anything, exercise does. Talking to a trusted peer helps a lot, getting it out is important, and you need to do it with a protected source so that you feel totally comfortable.
 CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) works for some, but I can tell you that it doesn't work for me. I am too inhibited to cry and talk in front of those who I must also lead. Every time we do one of these, I walk out feeling exposed and that doesn't help me much. None the less, it might work for others, so I support the process because the important thing is that my people get whatever they need to get them through whatever they are going through, and that they can get 'it' in whatever format works for them. So we use a combination of CISM, peer support, and various ad-hoc methods (drinking beer around a campfire, coffee at the deli before work, bullshitting after drills or work parties, whatever). We call and check in with each other to see how we are doing.
 So I survived the CISM session last night as did everyone else. It was the first time for a lot of those involved in the job, actually I think there were only 3 of us in the group who have been through this before. The rest were all newbies to the process. The session took more from me than I got out of it, but I hope some of the youngsters found it helpful, especially my son. He witnessed, on this call, the first of his peers to die as he watched. He lost someone who was his closet friend all through grammar school, middle school, and a good solid friend through High School and into adulthood. Three days on, and I don't think it's really hit home for him yet.
 As for me, I started my personal flavor of CISM this afternoon by leaving work early and doing this...

It's a 3 minute drive from my house, and a mile and a half hike in from the road. No people, no noise, (no fish), and nothing to do but think and sort things out.
 It works for me. In fact, It worked so well, I might do it again this weekend.
 I'll miss you Woodchuck, it was an honor to know you and watch you grow into a man.
Be Safe, Be Strong, Be Sharp,

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